This Power Rangers Dino Super Charge Review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Dino Super Charge Episode 1
While Dino Super Charge is branded as a new season for the long running Power Rangers franchise, it’s really just the back half of Dino Charge. Besides a quick flashback to remind us of last seasons events, “When Evil Stirs” functions more like the midseason premieres of the old Saban days, when a new villain would be introduced. I’m thinking specifically of the adult Olympus debut in Power Rangers Lightspeed Resuce.
Rather than a big team episode, this one wisely focuses on introducing the new main villain and finally giving us the last piece of Koda’s back story. While I would have loved the wacky adventures of Koda and Ivan for a few weeks while the other Rangers were gone, I’ll take any Koda focus episode they throw our way.
I applaud the show displaying incredible restraint in waiting till now to give us the flashback of Chase and Kendall finding Koda in the ice. We had certainly heard about it and if it was never shown it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it helps to bring extra emotional weight to what could have been another run of the mill fight.
Koda is still dealing with being trapped in ice for so long, developing a serious fear that could be bordering on PTSD. The look on his face when Ivan and Kendall are frozen is heartbreaking. He can’t go through this again. The last time it happened he lost everyone. At the start of the episode he’s missing all his friends and the thought of never seeing them is something Koda can’t even process. As much as Koda is a strong caveman, he’s still emotionally a little boy and Tyler displayed some very Red Ranger-y advice in helping him through it.
Much like in Koda’s first focus episode, the footage chosen for the final ground fight leaned more into another Ranger, in this case Kendall, which robs Koda a victory over his fear. It was nice seeing Kendall lead the group morph, but you do wish Koda got to carry the focus throughout his plotline. Despite that, it was a great bit of development for him.
Our other plot focused on Heckyl and his other half, Snide. An obvious Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde allusion, this dual villain force has shades of Mesogog and Anton Mercer from Power Rangers Dino Thunder. Unlike that situation, both sides here are seemingly pure evil, with Snide more prone to anger and Heckyl cunning. The use of the pocket watch to allow the two to communicate is a great device. I wonder if Snide can talk to Heckyl through it when he’s in control?
While Heckyl didn’t exactly wow me in his first appearance, this one does a much better job at establishing him as a credible threat. Unlike Sledge, he wants to play nice with the monsters and be more of a cult like leader. When one monster tries to leave, Heckyl instantly destroys him, making sure the others know that the same fate will befall them if they betray the cause.
It’s a great way to up the stakes. Sledge was all talk, Heckyl is about action. He’s cunning and plays for the big picture. Snide is more like Sledge, preferring to take whatever power they can get at the moment. I wonder if the two will be separated at some point or if we’ll discover more about their back story. Heckyl/Snide has a lot of potential as a main villain, especially since he seems ready and willing to take the fight to the Rangers and go right to café.
It’s also good to see Wrench, Curio, Poisandra, and Fury aren’t quite sure about this new guy. Poisandra even asks if they can reanimate Sledge. It’s a nice character moment that also fills in any possible continuity holes, even if I’m fairly certain we haven’t seen the last of Sledge. Fury also doesn’t seem too keen on Heckyl, so there may be some animosity there.
We get brief scenes with the other members of the team, Tyler continually doing his best Ryan Steele esque voiceover to his Dad, Chase in New Zealand, Riley on the farm, and Shelby at school. This is a bit of a weird shift from where the finale left us, with Shelby and Tyler off on their big adventure. Now Shelby is being forced to learn about subjects other than dinosaurs by her Dad. This is a nice bit of set up for later, and her Dad is played by longtime PR actor James Gaylyn, most noted for playing Colonel Truman in Power Rangers R.P.M. Does that mean Shelby is related to Scott? Probably not. We’ve seen many cases in the PRU where people just happen to look the same.
All in all it’s a solid return for Power Rangers. While other “Super” seasons started with the introduction of new powers for the team, here we get character building, new villains, and plot progression all wrapped up into one. It doesn’t feel rushed and we’ve got some exciting new stories in the mix. I’m ready for what’s coming next!
This season I’m going to introduce a recurring counter. The “New Zealand Reference” counter. For every time we get a shameless plug for how awesome New Zealand is or whenever it’s mentioned? I’ll be tallying it up. This week? We get 2. Reminding us that Chase is in New Zealand and a super touristy shot of the city.
– This is the nerdiest thing I could ever point out, but the new font in the opening title sequence is perfect. It makes the opening just feel moreslick.
– “My heart is empty but my tummy doesn’t have to be.” Poisandra, I get you.
– “You destroyed my entire planet.” “None of us are perfect.” With that line, Heckyl is the best villain we’ve had in years.
– Koda waiting for the mail and having Kendall read him the letter was adorable.
– Did anyone else catch the promo where Tyler says, “He’s gonna get T-Recked!” Put that on a shirt. Now.
– Koda just Kamen Rider Ghosted it up with leaving his jacket there.
– Chase seemed to get a little high from touching his Energem again. Forshadowing?
“Don’t worry about your racing heart Ranger. In a moment, it won’t be beating at all.” Oh snap.
– Why did Prince Phillip need to be there?
Shamus Kelley is very aware how hilarious it is that the Neo-Zeltrax suit showed up in the same episode as James Gaylyn. That’s Bodyfine. Follow him on Twitter!